Carolina Panthers (16-1) - Previously: #1 - Wow, what a first-half performance by the Panthers. They were so dominant that BetOnline opened them as four-point favorites over the Cardinals. They even hung on to cover despite Seattle's second-half surge. I'm just thrilled the tease came through.
Perhaps one of the shots people will remember most from Carolina's victory over Seattle was this:
People will look at this and think, "Aww, that's so cute that she got a football!" I'm taking a different approach to it, which is something I brought up a couple of months ago. I think it's unfair that stupid kids get all of the footballs. What about the fat guys who collect memorabilia like myself? I once again ask why we're getting shafted. Do you know how happy some fat guy who collects memorabilia would be if he got a football? Certainly happier than that little girl, that's for sure!
Arizona Cardinals (14-3) - Previously: #2 - The Cardinals trailed for most of the game, and had they lost the coin flip in overtime, Green Bay may have won. However I wouldn't be too concerned if I were an Arizona fan. There were incredibly high expectations placed on Carson Palmer, who had never won a playoff game before, and he managed to come through in the clutch when it mattered most. That, and Aaron Rodgers was the opposing quarterback. Beating him again for the second time in four weeks was not going to be easy.
Apparently, not everyone expected the Packers to even be there. This genius took his time to make this great sign:
He may have bought the tickets, but he couldn't buy an "H." You can only purchase vowels, after all.
Seattle Seahawks (11-7) - Previously: #3 - The Seahawks only have themselves to blame for their loss to the Panthers, as they made too many mistakes. Well, that's not entirely true. They can also blame the league, as Roger Goodell forced them into playing a 1 p.m. game on the East Coast in the postseason once again. Not only that, but the Panthers were able to get away with having the worst field turf ever.
Nothing's going to change, though. Carolina won't be penalized, while Seattle will probably have to play at 1 p.m. again next year because Goodell is a douche.
At any rate, I have to discuss Troy Aikman, who might just be a reader of this site. Aikman, at one point, called Russell Wilson "Russell Wilkens," and I think he might have even said "Ruskell" instead of Russell.
Unfortunately, Aikman also had this blunder near the end of the game...
Troy Aikman: I'm surprised Pete Carroll's not kicking a field goal here.
Joe Buck: Well, it's third down, Troy.
Oops. It's fine though. I'll continue to defend Troy as long as he keeps reading the site and continues to refer to Seattle's quarterback as Ruskell Wilkens.
New England Patriots (13-4) - Previously: #4 - The Patriots were a great fade down the stretch. That's not the case anymore, as they have mostly everyone back. Having Julian Edelman on the field again was great, but the biggest factor was the pass protection. Tom Brady was barely pressured, which is the complete opposite of what we saw at the end of the year. Brady was constantly hounded by the opposition against the Jets and Dolphins, but the blockers kept him clean versus the Chiefs. That's extremely important going forward.
Unfortunately for the Patriots, they're going to have more off-the-field distractions, as they're being investigated for something else:
Unreal. First, they videotape. Then, Brady gets those haircuts. After that, they deflate footballs. Now, they helped botch the coin toss in the Arizona-Green Bay game for some inexplicable reason? When will it stop!?
Green Bay Packers (11-7) - Previously: #6 - What a rough loss. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if at least a few dozen Green Bay fans died of either heart attacks or depression-related suicides during the Arizona game.
There's nothing I can say that'll make Packer fans feel better, so I'll leave them with these Eddie Lacy tweets that were re-tweeted throughout the game when Lacy looked like the fattest running back of all time:
I guess the man likes food. It's a shame for Lacy that he can't be a sumo wrestler. He'd be so much better at that sport.
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-7) - Previously: #7 - The Steelers were robbed of a victory, and the Patriots have to be thrilled. Had Pittsburgh gotten Antonio Brown back from his concussion, it could've legitimately challenged the Patriots in the AFC Championship. Instead, New England gets to battle a decrepit Peyton Manning. Wow, the Patriots have such an easy road to the Super Bowl that they don't even need to cheat this time.
Speaking of cheap shots, I absolutely loved this. So, remember that meme I posted last week of that poor Bengals fan chick? The one I said would be turned into a meme for the rest of her life?
Well, some Pittsburgh fans have already begun the process of making her an icon. Check out these dudes and the awesome cardboard cutout they brought to the game:
Wow. Brilliant. The Steelers may have lost, but these two guys are the true winners of the divisional round.
Denver Broncos (13-4) - Previously: #5 - Peyton Manning must have a four-leaf clover up his butt. That, or the Journalists Who Like to Suck Manning's Wang Federation is trying its hardest to get the Sherrif back to the Super Bowl. Manning had no business beating the Steelers, who led the entire game until Fitzgerald Toussaint's fumble and William Gay's dropped interception. Not that there's anything wrong with William Gay dropping an interception. Just trying my hardest to be politically correct here.
Speaking of the Journalists Who Like to Suck Manning's Wang Federation, Phil Simms reached a new low during the Broncos-Steelers game. One week after telling us that the "tables have switched," Simms suggested to "be weary of a wounded animal." Yes, let's all become tired because of a wounded animal.
Simms was so bad that he was trending on Twitter throughout the second half. The tweets about him were so hilarious that I had to take two screen shots. Here's the first:
First, we had Matt Millen talking about 100-percent USDA Men and kielbasas. Now, we have Simms discussing Manning pulling it out early. We definitely have some kinky announcers.
Here's the second:
Love them all, including the Sonic commercial tweet. Can you imagine Simms in a Sonic commercial?
Passenger: These Sonic Flat Melts are really bringing me and my taste buds closer together.
Driver: Oh, you guys are closer together?
Passenger: We're like taste bros.
Phil Simms: Oh boy, Jim, you know what? We talked about this, and the tables have switched, Jim. Remember how we talked about how the taste buds would become taste bros? Well, that apparently happened, Jim. And how did that happen, Jim? Well, I'll tell you what, we talked about it, Jim, the Sonic Flat Melts must have had something to do with it, Jim. I told ya, Jim. Be weary of those Sonic Flat Melts, Jim. We talked about it, Jim. If you eat Sonic Flat Melts, the taste buds and taste bros will have switched like those tables we talked about, Jim.
Driver: Ugh. Sonic sucks ever since Phil Simms started coming with us.
Kansas City Chiefs (12-6) - Previously: #10 - I have to hand it to Alex Smith. He played the best he could against the Patriots. Unfortunately, he's just too limited to win in this era. Had he been playing 20 years ago, he would've had a chance to lead the Chiefs all the way, but that's not the case anymore.
Oh, and Andy Reid, WTF? How do you not correct your poor clock management by now? Reid screwed up royally in that regard against the Patriots in the Super Bowl, and yet 11 years later, he still hasn't figured it out yet.
I received a message from Mike Elworth on Facebook, and he said that Reid wanted the clock to run out because he had restaurant reservations and he wanted to make it in time. That's a plausible explanation. Here's another...
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Derek Anderson: Hey, Billy, sorry I told you we were going to Vegas, but we have to make a quick stop in New England.
Billy Manziel: Uughgh whhahat tthhehe fufufukk mmamannn I hahahtte ththee cicitity ofoff Nneww Engnglalnd all thehe girirlls arre ffatt anndd donnn't wnaanan rooll $20sss witithht mmeee hic!
Derek Anderson: It'll be OK, Billy. Hey, there's Coach Reid. Hey, Andy, long time no see!
Andy Reid: Hem, hem... uhh... umm... uhh... time's yours.
Derek Anderson: Andy, want to drink with us? Billy here is pissed we're not in Vegas, and we could sure use a drinking buddy.
Andy Reid: Uhh... it's the... umm... middle... uhh... of the... fourth quarter... uhh... hem, hem...
Billy Manziel: Cmmonn ffattiiee jjuusst dririnkk wiitth uss thenen lleet's gooo tooo Redd Loobbsteer andnd rolll $20ss innthieir baathtroomss.
Andy Reid: Did you just say... hem, hem... Red Lobster... hem, hem... I assume we'll be... uhh... rolling 20 shrimps in the bathrooms, hem, hem... uhh... hem, hem.
Derek Anderson: Sure, yeah, rolling shrimp in the bathroom. Here's our flask, Andy. Drink up!
Something new this year - I'm keeping track of precise run defense, pass defense and pass protection rankings in Excel. The benefit to this is that it'll be broken down by week. Here are the download links: